International Women’s Day starts on March 8, and Nike is marking it with a new commercial starring Serena Williams, who steps off the court to focus on what it means to be a woman.
Here we get a reflective Williams, ticking off the list of reasons many had for her not to succeed. It’s a strong ad that lives up to the standard Williams and Nike have set for their work together over the years.
But more notably is the body of work this piece joins, in which Nike had been flexing its formidable marketing muscle to create challenging, inspiring work aimed at smashing stereotypes around women in sport. A year ago this week is when we got “This Is Us,” created for the brand in Turkey, and “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” from Russia, two ads that took aim at outdated cultural norms.
Another one worth revisiting is 2015’s “Inner Thoughts,” offering up a glimpse at the inner thoughts of some women as they run, lift and stretch toward their fitness goals, and relating to the everyday grind a fitness routine can be, rather than glorifying pro athlete superheroes.
And yet, now this week with Serena Williams, the brand illustrates the parallels of vulnerability and determination between one of greatest athletes of all-time, and the everyday women pushing their own limits around the world.